TED Revised FR (again) for Coleman Xcursion lantern
- Sorry Sonja (and everyone else). I had an afterthought...
Coleman Exponent Xcursion Lantern
Report Date: December 1, 2005
This is the second report of three
The Initial Report may be viewed here.
Product information in brief
Field and test information
Product use and Performance
Future testing strategy
I enjoy walking in all its manifold forms, from a simple stroll in
the woods to multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an
extreme ultra-light enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is
to carry a pack weight (before food and water) of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more
or less. In recent years, I've rapidly moved to a philosophy of
"lighter is better," within the constraints of budget and common sense.
* Name: Edward Ripley-Duggan
* Age: 52
* Gender: Male
* Height: 6′ 1″; (1.85 m)
* Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
* Catskills, New York State
Product information in brief
* Manufacturer: Coleman
* URL: http://www.coleman.com/
* Product: Xcursion Lantern
* Year of manufacture: 2004 (from packaging)
* MSRP: US $39.99 (from website)
* Manufacturer's stated dry weight: 12 oz (340 g)
* Measured weight (home scale): 12 oz (340 g)
* Manufacturer's stated weight, fully fueled: 13.1 oz (371 g)
* Measured weight, fully fueled (home scale): 13 oz (368 g)
* Stated dimensions: 6.7 x 3.0 x 3.0 in (19 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm)
* Measured dimensions: 6.7 x 3.0 x 3.0 in (19 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm)
* Fuel capacity (stated): 1.8 fl oz (53 cc)
* Fuel type: Coleman Powermax canister fuel
* Mantle type: Coleman Push-On #9970
* Stated light output: 10 candle-power
* Stated burn time: up to six hours
Field and test information
During the two months discussed in this Field Report, nighttime
temperatures ranged from about 50 F (10 C), down to around 20 F (-7
C). Despite a prodigious hurricane season and the resulting periods of
heavy rain as the storms swept northwards, there were long dry
stretches and I took quite a few overnight backpacks. The Xcursion
lantern saw several nights of use, both at home (I find it handy for
illuminating my gas grill!) and on the trail. Elevations were from 500
ft (152 m) to 3700 ft (1127 m), sometimes in heavily wooded settings,
in Harriman Park and the Catskills (New York State).
Product use and Performance
I'm charmed by the Xcursion lantern. While by no means ultralight,
it's a pleasant addition on a trip, and I have found that it can be
safely tucked into one of the side pockets on my Granite Gear Virga
pack, or into an interstitial space in the interior. It takes up very
I'm also testing the Exponent Xtreme stove, and the combination of
the two is a good one, as surplus gas in the PowerMax canister left
after stove use can be discharged into the lantern. Charging is very
straightforward process, as noted in the Initial Report. I can then
dispose of the empty canister (having punctured it with the Green Key
first). It's a pleasure not to have yet another fractionally full
canister sitting around the place. One of the real weaknesses of
canister stoves is the difficulty of disposal of the empty canister
afterwards. I'm pleased to report that fuel economy seems very good
indeed with the lantern.
I was concerned about the durability of the mantle in transport,
but so far, despite carrying a couple of spare mantles (insignificant
in weight) I've not needed to replace one in the field. For
transportation, I simply slide the protective shields (which double as
reflectors) up, so the glass globe is not exposed. I don't take any
special precautions, but both lantern and mantle seem to be pretty
sturdy, and are not affected by being jounced around in a pack.
Lighting the Xcursion is straightforwardsort of! The easiest way
to achieve ignition is to light a match, insert it through the
ignition hole at the rear, hold it next to the mantle, and turn on the
gas. The lantern fires up almost immediately. However, matches are a
nuisance outdoors, if there is the slightest breeze. Regular matches
blow out, all too often, and half the time I find that the
"waterproof-windproof" variety don't strike well. There's also the
chance that the matchstick will be left behind at the campsite; though
I'm careful about such things, others are not, and it's not uncommon
to find a popular camping area strewn with spent matches. This is not
good "Leave No Trace" practice!
While I always carry a small match supply for dire emergencies, I
usually use a Brunton Helios lighter for camp tasks. This projects a
powerful jet of flame, and with a little practice I have found that
it's possible to squirt this flame through the ignition hole and
thereby light the mantle. Lighting usually takes a couple of seconds
(with a match it is virtually instantaneous) and there's a distinct
"pop" as the gas/air mixture is ignited.
I do find the decision to place the ignition hole in the rear of
the cap slightly less than ideal (and this is the way that the cap is
apparently intended to be positioned, as it is depicted this way on
both the box and the accompanying literature, and it's the way the
lantern is delivered). The result of this placement is that the match
or lighter flame has to pass by the burner tube on the way to the
mantle, as the mantle is placed off-center, closer to the front of the
lantern than the rear.
All is not lost, however. The cap may be rotated 180 degrees so
that the ignition port is now in front. The resulting angle from the
port to the mantle is a bit steep for a match, but with care it works
(and I feel that there's less chance of accidentally prodding the
mantle in the process). This position is just about perfect for a
lighter with a pressurized flame, like the Brunton (I couldn't get a
simple Bic-type lighter to ignite the lantern in either position).
This is a very minor cavil, and no big deal. I've yet to attempt
ignition in high winds, it should be noted, for which a windproof
lighter should be most useful.
The quality of the light is excellent, a clear white. I've mostly
used the lantern solo, but on a recent trip I used it to illuminate
the kitchen/conversation area of the campsite for three people (myself
included) and it proved very adequate to that task. While a lantern
doesn't throw out heat like a campfire, light alone can also be a
focus for groups, providing an element of psychological comfort. In a
backcountry setting I don't use fires (except on those rare occasions
when the conditions permit a small, traceless conflagration), and the
lantern really does provide a pleasant camp ambience. I should note
that (like most and perhaps all mantle lanterns) it is not possible to
control the level of brightness by adjusting the fuel feed valve.
The light intensity is not such that it illuminates an entire
campsite, which is a good thing, to my mind. It is not terribly
intrusive (and if I want to experience the night without the barrier
of light, as I often do, I can just turn the lantern off). There's no
need for headlamps in the vicinity of the lantern, but outside a
three- or four-yard radius alternative illumination is required. The
unit is almost entirely noiseless (it emits the faintest of hisses).
I've sometimes found it handy to use one of the reflectors to make the
light more directional. This is useful, for example, if one is
map-reading or engaged in a delicate task. I initially found the catch
for the sliding reflectors slightly awkward to disengage before
sliding. It's necessary to both press in the catch and push on the
projecting rib directly above.
So far, the Xcursion lantern has proved to be a handy little
workhorse. It's easy to pack, the mantle seems durable in transit, and
lighting it (while not without some minor issues) is straightforward
enough. Recharging the lamp with fuel is easy, and it makes a good
companion to a Coleman PowerMax stove.
Future testing Strategy
In the remaining two months of testing, I will continue to use the
lantern on winter excursions. I'll be particularly interested to see
how it functions at the low temperatures I'll be experiencing, and in
high winds. I'll continue to examine the various aspects I discussed
in the Initial Report.
So far, I'm satisfied with performance, and the only significant
objection I have is the location of the ignition port, which I feel
should be at the front of the lantern for ease of lighting.
I thank BackpackGearTest and Coleman for permitting me to
participate in this very interesting test.